From her first day on the job, Debra Yelson says she’s felt exactly the way she wants her customers to feel at Firstrust Bank—welcome. In a banking career that spans 40 years, Yelson is as enthusiastic about her role as Vice President and Community Banking Manager as she’s ever been.
“I have always been a banker who has relationships with my clients,” says Yelson. “I pride myself on that—the integrity, the honesty, the fact that I’m always looking out for what’s best for them—and I found these are the same values at the core of Firstrust’s mission of providing world-class services to customers.”
Richard J. Green, Firstrust’s Chairman and CEO, summarized the company philosophy in a previous conversation with Main Line Today: “We are open to change and innovation, but we remain essentially a family company.” That’s a critical perspective for helping other family-run businesses, particularly in a year that tested even the most solid business relationships.
For Firstrust, the pandemic meant pausing in-person banking at its 5 Main Line area branches, keeping only safe-deposit box access and drive-up lanes open. Still, our commitment and dedication to our customers remained as fervent.
As people’s lives and financial needs changed, Firstrust pivoted as well. Yelson is especially proud of how the bank kicked into high gear to process the federal Paycheck Protection Program loans. Branch employees whose branches had closed to walk-in traffic were reassigned to shepherd PPP applications through the system, or to help staff Firstrust’s Customer Care Center handle an avalanche of calls from anxious business owners. Daily conference calls kept the management team updated.
“We were all working seven days a week,” she recalls, “and it was absolutely seamless to our customers. Businesses were in crisis mode, and whatever they wanted to do, we had all the internal expertise to help them get there.”
So today, as life inches back to normal, what makes Firstrust Bank stand out?
“The fact that everything we do is local,” she states. “All our decisions are made by people who live here and understand the communities where we work. You know, I think the pandemic has made our relationships with customers even stronger—because we’ve stood with them, and they know we care about them. ”
She adds that Firstrust has seen growth across the Main Line as businesses heard about how Firstrust helped its customers and other local companies with PPP. “Many were surprised to learn we are a full-service commercial bank,” she states, ”with the same capabilities of the larger banks. But our priorities are different… as our customers and communities prosper, so do we. And that’s the right order. It’s all about putting our customers first here at Firstrust, and that’s never gonna change.”
Learn more at Firstrust.com/mainline or call 800-220-BANK.
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